Charlie Schlenker

Assistant News Director

GLT Assistant News Director Charlie Schlenker grew up in Rock Island, Illinois and graduated from Augustana College. He has spent more than three decades in radio and has won numerous state and national awards for journalism. He lives in Normal with his family.

Forest and Kim Star / Flickr

Many couples celebrated Valentine's Day with gifts of chocolate. But, the sweet has a sometimes bitter and complex history.

Illinois State University Anthropologist Katie Sampeck looks at the genesis of taste and how chocolate came to be.

Randy Wick / Flickr

Illinois Agriculture groups are starting to show concern about the Trump administration direction in trade policy.

During the campaign, Trump focused on manufacturing jobs. But, agriculture has been a big winner under NAFTA and other regional and global trade deals.

More than half of Illinois corn and soybeans go to Mexico and Canada. Illinois Farm Bureau Vice President David Erickson of Altona, Illinois said nervous Mexican firms are starting to look for suppliers in Brazil and Argentina.

Staff / WGLT

Illinois Wesleyan University students are now able to ride Connect Transit buses free.

The Student Senate and Connect Transit have a pilot program offering universal access, much as ISU students have.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Downtown revitalization figured strongly in answers during the GLT Bloomington Mayoral candidates forum.

Alderman Kevin Lower said during the event at Illinois State University's University Galleries, the city is not paying enough attention to the periphery of the community.

Staff / WGLT

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage said he is not seeing a big change in immigration enforcement yet from the Trump Administration.

President Trump has made border security and deportation of undocumented immigrants a centerpiece of his policy.

Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register/Pool

Governor Bruce Rauner is finally weighing in on a bipartisan deal meant to end Illinois’ budget stalemate. Rauner shot down a key component of the compromise during his budget speech.

Rauner was kept out of the Senate negotiations from the start. He has since praised them in general but refused to get into specifics until now. In his budget speech to the General Assembly Rauner said he does support expanding the sales tax to cover more services but he opposes taxing groceries and drugs.

Staff / WGLT

The Assistant Administrator at the McLean County Health Department will take the top job on an interim basis.

Cathy Coverston-Anderson has been at the agency for more than seven years. Anderson has a graduate degree in public health from Harvard.

City of Bloomington

The Bloomington City Council is acting to build new sewer lines in a part of the city lacking full service. Mayor Tari Renner said the city sewer system is in bad shape.

Speaking during GLT's Sound Ideas Renner hailed council action to build new lines replacing private sewer lines dating back more than 140 years in the historic Dimmitt's Grove neighborhood. The private lines make long runs to hook into the city's service.

Renner said the roads in that area are also dilapidated which helped make those sewers a top priority...

Emma Meyer / McLean County Museum of History

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said he sees shifting rhetoric by Congressional Republicans that gives him hope the Affordable Care Act will not just be simply repealed.

Durbin said during a stop at the McLean County Museum Of History Route 66 Visitors' Center that a repeal would be disastrous for both the stability of the insurance marketplace and for medical providers.

Human Milk Depot Begins In McLean County

Feb 10, 2017
Mothers' Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes

A new group is issuing a call for human milk donors in McLean County.

The first milk depot is opening at the health department in Bloomington next week.

Pre-screened lactating women can donate excess breast milk to help medically fragile babies.

Rutgers University

In the era of smart phones and smart cars, empowering women can be a gender smart way to achieve economy wide gains.

That's according to this year's Eckley lecturer at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Illinois State University

In this time of tension over immigration here is an example of how one group of Latinos created its own sense of community and belonging in a town in rural Indiana.

The book 'Latino Heartland: Of Borders and Belonging in the Midwest,' is widely available in the community. Author Sujey Vega will speak at ISU the evening of February 23rd and at the McLean County Museum of History Saturday the 25th at 1 p.m.

ISU's Latin American And Latino Studies Program want to make it an example for everyone and are teaming up for a community reading group. 

Staff / WGLT

Since the November election protests have erupted across the U.S. involving a broad swath of issues. many have attracted surprising numbers of supporters.

With Republicans controlling both the legislative and executive functions of the Federal government, traditional Democratic constituencies are increasingly turning to the streets to register their feelings.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Politicians of all parties often sidestep awkward questions.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner followed that tradition during a stop at Heartland Community College in Normal on Wednesday.

Staff / WGLT

The Governor and Lieutenant Governor are using Heartland Community College in Normal to kick off a statewide tour focusing on best practices in government efficiency.

Heartland has a dual credit program with area high schools to allow them to take courses for college credit while still in K-12 schools.

Ralph Weisheit

A teacher’s union leader in central Illinois is concerned about charter schools and school vouchers. It is likely the U.S. Senate will vote this week on voucher proponent Betsy Devos as Education Secretary.

Unit Five Education Association President Karl Goeke said taking taxpayer money and making it available to private schools on a per student basis, hurts public schools.

Ryan McDonough / Flickr

Bloomington Normal resident Doug Rosenbaum worked the Superbowl on Sunday. It is Rosenbaum's second stint as an NFL Referee of the biggest game of the year.

He was part of the top ranked crew during the regular season, which earned the right to ref the big game.

Tazwood Center For Wellness

Editors Note: During our interview series Stretched Thin, we reported on the impact of the state budget impasse on local social service agencies   That was in spring of 2016. There's still no budget. In our new series Stretched Thinner, we check back in with those social social service agencies.

MCCA

Editors Note: During our interview series Stretched Thin, we reported on the impact of the state budget impasse on local social service agencies   That was in spring of 2016. There's still no budget. In our new series Stretched Thinner, we check back in with those social social service agencies.  

Mid Central Community Action in Bloomington is keeping its head above water as it tries to deliver services to the homeless, to those escaping and recovering from domestic violence, and to those who are trying to stabilize their lives.

Nelson Pavlovsky / Flickr

As central Illinois leaders try to assess the magnitude of Caterpillar, Incorporated's announcement they are moving top corporate leadership to the Chicago area, there are no sure answers.

Kyle Ham heads the Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council.

Aaron Volkening / Flickr

An Illinois State University Business Professor said it's important to keep some perspective about Caterpillar's announcement it is moving it's headquarters to the Chicago area.

Victor Devinatz studies labor and management relations. He said it's 100 executive jobs and 300 jobs overall.

Cristan Jaramillo / WGLT

Editors Note: During our interview series Stretched Thin, we reported on the impact of the state budget impasse on local social service agencies and heard how the stalemate was affecting members of the community.  That was in spring of 2016. There's still no budget. In our new series Stretched Thinner, we check back in with those social social service agencies. 

Janet Guaderrama

Protestors at the Central Illinois Regional Airport say Congressman Rodney Davis ducked them as he med with reporters before flying back to Washington.

WGLT was not notified of Davis's news conference announcing his sponsorship of a measure to continue requirements for insurers to cover pre-existing conditions.

But, in a WGLT interview from November Davis said he supported the continuation of insurance when people switch policies, even if they are or have been ill.

Staff / WGLT

Illinois State University is fielding a lot of questions from international students concerned about the Trump Administration executive orders on immigration and visa enforcement.

About ten ISU students come from the seven countries specifically banned in the Executive order. Others from those nations have also been accepted for admission to ISU in the fall.

Staff / WGLT

The Not In Our Town movement in Bloomington Normal is objecting to the Muslim ban and borders the Trump administration has closed for people from seven nations.

Mike Matejka of Not in Our Town said there will be a solidarity rally Wednesday.

David Forrest

Three Bradley University Students are getting into the business world a little early. They have designed a new game that will be published later this year.

It's called 'Dark Is the Night.' It's being funded by a Kickstarter campaign.

State Sen. Bill Brady

President Donald Trump continues to roll out changes and initiatives that indicate a starkly different direction than under the Obama administration.

For instance, his nominee for education Secretary is a firm backer of school vouchers.

Illinois State University

Actress Jane Lynch graduated from Illinois State University in 1982. She has gone on to fame in such movies as Best In Show, A Mighty Wind, and the TV series Glee and even in a dramatic role in the series Criminal Minds.

The Emmy and Golden Globe winning Lynch will receive an honorary doctorate from ISU during Founders Day observances February 16th.

Scott Vogel / Bloomington Central Catholic High School

The last eight years have been difficult for people who oppose abortion. The Obama administration was not receptive to that message.

But, Bloomington Central Catholic High School students headed to Washington for the annual national March For Life feel excited this year because of the change in administration.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Gov. Bruce Rauner said he is "deeply optimistic" about the future of Illinois despite the state's problems. He addressed a joint session of the General Assembly with his third State of the State address.

The Republican said he is frustrated by the "slow pace of change."

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